January 2, 2015 § 2 Comments
While doing research on shoes from the 1930s, I stumbled upon this shoe patent for a detachable heel by Inventor Manual S. Gutierrez. It immediately caught my attention because recently two of my favorite fashion history blogs, The Historialist and Jonathan Walford’s Blog, had related posts on interchangeable heels. What I find interesting is that this patent precedes any of the shoes mentioned in their posts. When I think of the Detachable Heel the Famous I. Miller ad from 1954 comes to mind. It never really seemed like a good idea to me, but the novelty is definitely appealing. As Jonathan Walford mentions in his blog the design is still being reinvented. I would love to know more about Manual S. Gutierrez so stay tuned. I couldn’t find anything when I did a search, but he must exist somewhere.
November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment
Curious about my grandfather’s V cut throat pump that I wrote about in my previous post, I contacted Fashion Historian Jonathan Walford. Jonathan has an illustrious resume which includes Curatorial Director of The Fashion History Museum in Ontario, Canada and Founding Curator of The Bata Shoe Museum. Jonathan is also an accomplished writer. Two of his books, The Seductive Shoe: Four Centuries of Fashion Footwear and Shoes A-Z: Designers, Brands, Manufacturers, and Retailers, are published by Thames & Hudson.
You can see he’s definitely the go to person when you have any fashion history questions. Here’s what he had to say:
A design patent protects the patent holder for three years before it falls into general use. They are rarely taken out because they are expensive, laborious and non-renewable, they also don’t require legal proof of original design, which a regular patent would require. As your grandfather made shoes for independent shoe retailers and stores it would make sense that he took out design patents to protect his shoe designs which kept them from being knocked off by someone else.
The V throat was certainly fashionable in shoes in the 1940s, and again in the 1980s, so your grandfather may have originated the fashion in Western footwear, although he wouldn’t have financially benefited from that, as a design patent is not the same as an intellectual copyright – you don’t own the idea for your lifetime. I can’t think of any ‘V’ cut throats that predate the late 1930s unless I look at examples like these below from China from the 1910s. Your grandfather may have borrowed the idea from shoes similar to these, or come up with the idea on his own.